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WCPO's Jake Ryle says he's taking a mental health break from TV news

Jake Ryle covered Hamilton's West Side All-Stars at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., last month for WCPO-TV.
Courtesy Jake Ryle
Jake Ryle covered Hamilton's West Side All-Stars at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., last month for WCPO-TV.

TV reporter Jake Ryle said he was diagnosed with having anxiety and persistent depressive disorder last year.

"You won't see me on TV for a few weeks," WCPO-TV news reporter Jake Ryle posted on Twitter Monday night.

"I'm still here. I'm okay. I'm taking a leave for the month of October to focus on my mental health and well-being."

The 2008 Conner High School and 2012 Western Kentucky University graduate wrote that he was "diagnosed with having anxiety and persistent depressive disorder" last year.

"I thought, at first, I could 'push through' these hurdles by ignoring them. I can't ignore them any longer. There are times when I feel like I simply can't get out of bed. Times when negativity is the easiest route to take. Times when finding the next drink seems like the right thing to do," he wrote.

His WCPO-TV co-workers, and some of his Cincinnati TV news competitors, have expressed support and encouragement in comments on his Twitter post.

Ryle, who was a Scripps sports intern at Channel 9 for nearly two years (2010-2012), had been contemplating how to address this for several weeks, "waiting for the right time."

He wrote: "There's no time like right now. Every minute matters."

After graduating from Western Kentucky, Ryle was a multimedia sports journalist in Anchorage, Alaska, for a year. Then he worked three years for Dayton's WDTN-TV before being hired by WCPO-TV in June 2017. His sports background came in handy when he covered Hamilton's West Side All-Stars in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., in August for Channel 9.

In his Twitter profile, Ryle describes himself as a "Christian. WCPO Storyteller. WKU. Fiji. Conner High Alumnus. 3x Marathon finisher."

"I hope to find a bit of solace this month," his message concluded. "I have doctor appointments, therapy sessions and physical therapy on the docket. I hope they help. I know I have to try. Admitting that I need therapy to address work and life related issues might be one of the hardest things I've ever had to do … but it's necessary."

WCPO-TV anchor-reporter Evan Millward called Ryle "one of the greats – great storyteller, great friend, great human. And you’re already stronger than most of us … We’ve all got your back."

Adam Symson, CEO of E.W. Scripps which owns the station, praised Ryle for his "courageous move to take time away for self care. Even more courageous and honorable to share it with others so that we may be inspired by you."

To which Ryle responded: "All I can hope is for conversations to take place where they’re needed, and for folks to be more open with how they’re doing. Adam, thank you so much for reaching out. I’m very fortunate to work for an employer that allows me the chance to focus on my mental health."

WLWT-TV reporter Helena Battipaglia wrote: "Jake, this takes such strength and courage. I am SO PROUD OF YOU. Taking care of YOU is most important. Thanks for being an inspiration and leading by example. You’re not alone."

Among those posting messages were WCPO-TV anchors Craig McKee and Julie O'Neill, reporters John Matarese and Craig Cheatham and General Manager Jeff Brogan; WLWT-TV's Mollie Lair, Jatara McGee, Shaun Elliott, Kelly Rippin and Dan Griffin; WKRC-TV anchor Kyle Inskeep and former Channel 12 reporters Angenette Levy and Jed DeMuesy; Enquirer food writer Keith Pandolfi; and sportswriter Laurel Pfahler.

If you or someone you know is struggling emotionally or has concerns about their mental health, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has a list of resources on its website.

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.